Over the summer Dr. Allison Landry, Principal Lecturer of Biology at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) completed a Genome Editing and CRISPR virtual workshop through the Milwaukee School of Engineering. This workshop was put on by the MSOE Center for BioMolecular Modeling.
This is the third workshop Dr. Landry has completed as part of the Louisiana School’s professional development opportunities. Through the LSMSA Foundation eligible faculty and staff can apply for grants from the Richard G. Brown Fund to receive scholarly and creative enrichment for their professional and personal lives. This leads to enhancing the quality of students’ overall educational experiences and the LSMSA community as a whole.
Proposals can relate to research and publishing; development and preparation of new courses or programs in academic or residential life; participation in workshops or university courses; acquiring new technological skills; creative, performing, and scholarly projects; enhancement of one’s skills in a service setting; and other substantive programs of study for personal or professional enrichment.
“The LSMSA Foundation funded my opportunity to participate in the workshop, which greatly enhances my understanding of this useful system,” said Dr. Landry. “This directly translates to my ability to teach our students.”
Dr. Landry received DNA replication models and a 3D printed model for a CRISPR Cas9 Complex. She and Dr. Jason Anderson, Lecturer of Biology, will use these models for special projects with students during the 2021-2022 school year. Special projects are a one-week short course between semesters.
“You don’t really think about using 3D printing in biology but it’s really neat to make models of proteins,” said Dr. Landry. “It takes the abstract and makes it more concrete, which helps the students understand the process.”
Some of the uses for CRISPR and genome editing research include treating cystic fibrosis, developing treatments for sickle cell anemia. This is one of the new hot areas and there’s lots of research going on right now.
In 2020 the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded for the first time to two women, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna. They invented a method, CRISPR Cas9, making it easier for researchers to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms.
“We try to keep the curriculum relevant and keep the students engaged,” said Dr. Landry.
LSMSA is a state-supported, residential public high school with competitive admissions for Louisiana’s high-achieving, highly-motivated sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Learn more at LSMSA.edu.